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School sicko Child abuser who got school caretaker job despite being registered as sex offender freed from jail

Ferry groomed the boys, plying them with alcohol and cigarettes and also gave them money

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Michael Ferry leaves Midlands Prison.

Michael Ferry leaves Midlands Prison.

Michael Ferry leaves Midlands Prison.

Child abuser Michael Ferry walked free from prison this week without any clear answers on how he was able to get a job as a school caretaker despite being a registered sex offender.

The 66-year-old got 14 years behind bars in 2011 after pleading guilty to dozens of sex attacks on young boys at an Irish language college in Gweedore, west Donegal.

He pleaded guilty to 38 sample charges, including 17 oral and anal rapes, 18 sex assaults, one indecent assault and two charges of production of child porn between 1990 and 2005.

Ferry had used his position at the Irish language school to groom boys for his twisted pleasure despite previously being convicted in 2002 and placed on the sex offenders' register.

This week, as he emerged from Midlands Prison, in Co. Laois, Ferry gave little away when asked how he got the job at Ard Scoil Mhuire, in Bunbeg, saying it was by "word of mouth". He also denied claims he was part of a wider paedophile ring in operation in Donegal at the time.

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Michael Ferry  is confronted by our man Eamon outside Midlands Prison.

Michael Ferry is confronted by our man Eamon outside Midlands Prison.

Michael Ferry intends to move on with his life.

Michael Ferry intends to move on with his life.

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Michael Ferry is confronted by our man Eamon outside Midlands Prison.

Asked if he understood what his victims had been through, he said he did, but added that "too much was made" of claims that other paedophiles were involved.

He said he'd been associated with people he "didn't even know."

In reply to whether he regretted his actions, Ferry said: "Of course I do, why wouldn't I?"

"I cannot turn back time, I cannot undo what I've done. I apologised for what I've done."

His plans now are to "get on with my life the best that I can" and when asked if he was travelling back to Donegal, he added: "I'll go where the authorities say."

He referred to his decade behind bars as "not easy".

One victim, Derek Mulligan, who spoke out after Ferry's 2011 conviction said at the time he could not understand how Ferry got his school job back and continued to abuse him and others.

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Michael Ferry paid one victim £2 after sexually abusing him.

Michael Ferry paid one victim £2 after sexually abusing him.

Michael Ferry paid one victim £2 after sexually abusing him.

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He also expressed his fears that other men had been involved in abusing other boys.

During the controversy over the case then Justice Minister Alan Shatter said that it was "the clear recollection of gardaí" the owner of the school was in court for Ferry's earlier criminal proceedings.

He said that gardaí had spoken to the owner of the school about the conviction and expressed concerns about Ferry continuing to work there.

A report by Tusla into the affair was completed and although it was never published, it was shown to Ferry's victims in 2013. A Garda review ordered by Minister Shatter was not published either.

The Director of Public Prosecutions also declined to bring any prosecution after it was ruled there was no wrongdoing involved in Ferry getting the caretaker's job.

Thanks to the publicity surrounding the case another victim came forward which resulted in a successful prosecution against Ferry in 2013, although he didn't serve any extra time.

At Ferry's 2011 trial it was heard how he stopped studying for the priesthood in 1979 and worked as a PE and religious teacher and was caretaker in schools in Gweedore.

One of his duties was to enforce a curfew in the Gweedore Gaeltacht for students from all over Ireland who were sent to learn Irish.

He groomed boys by giving them alcohol, cigarettes and money.

He would also make them watch pornography with him, with one boy reporting to gardaí that the man had shown him child pornography.

The trial judge at the time said the authorities must have been aware Ferry had a conviction for a similar offence, yet he continued working in the school.

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Serial sex offender Michael Ferry going to court

Serial sex offender Michael Ferry going to court

Victim Derek Mulligan.

Victim Derek Mulligan.

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Serial sex offender Michael Ferry going to court

"A disturbing feature of this case is that the outrages perpetrated in the school predate and postdate the sexual assault of a pupil in the same school, for which he was placed on the sex offenders' register for five years," Mr Justice Paul Carney commented.

"Despite the fact he pleaded guilty to sexual assault in 2002, he remained working in the school to continue to engage in the stalking and grooming with which we are concerned with today. This must have been known to the local gardaí and presumably the school authorities."

Ferry told one victim to imagine it was "a girl doing it to you" while he masturbated him, after having plied him with whiskey, it was heard in court.

Two of the boys later told gardaí Ferry abused them in the school after he got them so drunk they were afraid to go home to their parents.

Another said he woke up from a vodka- induced sleep to find himself lying naked and with his back passage sore and bleeding.

Ferry was arrested in June 2010 after one of the victims reported the abuse to his doctor.

He admitted the offences and said he had shown the teenagers pornography "to get them in the mood". He told gardaí he was sorry he ever set foot in the place because there were temptations.

He asked gardaí why the boys had not come forward earlier or told him to stop at the time.

He was sentenced to 18 years with four years suspended.

At Ferry's 2013 trial sample indecent assault charges from 1984 referred to crimes against a boy over a period of years from the age 13.

The assaults were committed by a person he had looked up to as a teacher and school caretaker and "must have been devastating" for him, according to the trial judge.

The victim was paid £2 after the first offence and he received more money and cigarettes during later offences. His trust "was blown out of the water" and he failed his Leaving Certificate and did not know what to do.

Judge John O'Hagan said not alone were children put at risk but students who attended the Gaeltacht schools were at risk as Ferry used a college for which he had keys as a caretaker to take people "nice and quietly" where nobody would see.

Ferry was given a seven-year sentence to run concurrently with the one he was already serving at the time.

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